Horse races are a sport where horses compete with each other by running around a track and jumping over hurdles or fences (if there are any). The winning horse must cross the finish line first. Horse races can have a variety of rules and betting is common. A race can have a single winner, or several winners depending on how the betting market is structured.
Horse racing is one of the oldest sports, having been practiced in civilizations around the world since ancient times. Archaeological records show that horse racing took place in Ancient Greece, Rome, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. It has also been an important part of myth and legend, with stories involving Odin’s steed Hrungnir and the contest between Achilles and Hector in Greek mythology. Today, horse racing is a popular pastime for fans and punters alike, with races held every day and nearly 300 dirt or turf courses operating globally.
When it comes to defining the greatest horse race of all time, opinions vary widely. Some people would say the Belmont Stakes or the Kentucky Derby are the greatest American classics, while others might opt for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or the Melbourne Cup in Australia. There is, however, no doubt that the Grand National – a four-and-a-half-mile race over steeplechase fences – is the world’s greatest flat race.
Before the race starts, competing horses are positioned in stalls or behind a starting gate to prevent them from getting an unfair advantage. Once the gates open, the race begins and the jockeys (the riders on the horse) must guide them along the course and over any hurdles or fences that may be present.
Once the horses have cleared the hurdles, they are racing for a set distance and, in most cases, the horse with the highest number of completed laps is declared the winner. Occasionally, the race organizers may change the course or distance to increase the difficulty of the race or because of safety concerns.
During the race, jockeys use whips to urge their horses forward and encourage them to run faster. Using the whip too frequently can cause pain and discomfort to the horse, so the rules on how often a jockey can whip a horse varies by race and region.
Whether they are watching from a box in Millionaires Row or standing in the crowded infield, spectators enjoy the adrenaline rush of watching a great horse race. It is no wonder why the race attracts 80,000 partyers each year. And while the race isn’t the most important political contest, the televised coverage can help sway voters who are undecided or unsure of which candidate best represents their views. The 2020 presidential campaign has already gotten off to a fast start, with many of the candidates taking an early lead, so it is essential that horse-race coverage be kept up to date and accurate.